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Knowing Your Cancer, How Lymphoma Spreads

These are some facts according to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: 19.5 out of every 100,000 people in the world develop Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma while 2.8 out of every 100,000 people in the world are diagnosed with Hodgkins disease. Hodgkins disease and Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma are two of the main classifications of lymphoma, a cancer of the bodys lymph system. The lymph system, being part of our immune system, is tasked to eliminate bacteria, diseases and infection from our body. But when the cells multiply abnormally, tumors begin to appear in the lymph nodes. You can feel these as lumps in the nodes of the neck, armpit and groin. Soon the cancer cells will spread in other parts of the body, how lymphoma spreads is a good thing to know.

Metastasis. This is a word we often hear in cancer patients. This is actually a term which refers to the spreading of cancer to the rest of the body. Lymphoma at first is a single tumor in one of the many lymph nodes of the body. What happens when the cancer cells undergo metastasis is that cancer-infected cells break away from the main tumor and moves to another part of the body. The cancer cells use the bloodstream to move from one area of the body to another. The cancer cell can attach itself to another lymph node or to other organs of the body. When it fastened firmly, the cells reproduce again until it creates another mass of tissue to form as a tumor. Then the whole process repeats itself.

For lymphoma, the cancer cells use the lymphatic system of the body to spread. The lymphatic system of the body is pretty much like the bloodstream, it is spread although out the body since it is responsible for keeping the body clean from infections and diseases. The lymphatic system is an open canal where cancer cells can travel and create more tumors.

The tumors are pretty deadly. Because of the accelerated rate of growth, these cancer cells can continue to make the tumors grow. Soon enough the tumors grow large enough that the healthy tissues or organs are prevented to function normally. Eventually the healthy tissues or organs will stop functioning which spells death to the person.

Like any cancer, lymphoma has also a number of stages. These stages describe the severity of the condition and indicate how far the cancer cells have infected the body. Stage I is the first stage of the cancer. At this level, the cancer cells have only infected one lymph node or one part of the body. Because it is still developing, this stage is also referred to as the early disease.

The second stage or Stage II is far more alarming. At this point the cancer cells have metastasis and have infected another one or even more lymph nodes or parts of the body. However, at Stage II the infection is limited to either above or below the persons diaphragm. This stage is called locally advanced disease.

Stage III is known as the advanced disease. The cancer cells at this stage have found its way on both sides of the diaphragm and have established a number of tumors in those areas. The final stage or Stage IV or widespread disease is described by spread of the cancer cells to one or more of the bodys organs such as the bone, skin, liver or lungs.

This is how lymphoma spreads. That is why it is important for an early detection of the disease for proper and effective treatment.


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All You Need to Know About Lymphoma

Whenever you get sick, whats the first thing that you do? Know what you have. Either its a simple fever or a complicated illness, the very first thing that you do is to gather information to find out your current condition. The same thing with lymphoma, whether you research things on your own or go to a doctor (although this should always be the case since self diagnosis can bring you only so far) for advice, your target is to get all you need know about the disease.

Lymphoma is basically a cancer of the lymphatic system. The system is composed of various nodes or glands situated in different places of our body. These glands are connected by vessels that carry the lymph fluid or the white blood cells which help fight diseases. As you might have remembered in your high school biology class, the white blood cells help fight the bacteria and diseases that enter our body. And because these glands are connected to each other, once lymphoma hits a gland, theres a good chance that the cancer cells spread throughout the body via the lymph vessels. You should know this fact out front: no cure has been discovered yet that would eliminate the disease. Nonetheless, there are new techniques, medicines and medical procedures that have brought more positive treatments for people with lymphoma.

There are two kinds of lymphoma, namely Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). The first one, the Hodgkins disease owes its name to Thomas Hodgkin (1798-1866). He was the first one who published a paper about the disease. This kind of lymphoma is capable of spreading from one lymph node to another. It is also observed that people diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma has the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells which can only be detected by the aid of a microscope.

The other kind of lymphoma is the non-Hodgkin kind. This kind is described as having larger than normal lymph nodes and is accompanied by fever and weight loss. There are about 16 sub-types which do not fall under the conditions described by Hodgkins lymphoma. These sub-types are grouped according to aggressiveness which basically means the cancer cells are fast-growing. NHL lymphomas include chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL), Burkitt lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and immunoblastic large cell lymphoma.

Treatment is either radiation therapy or chemotherapy. The age, sex and stage of the cancers development plays a role in determining the kind of treatment patients will undergo. Early detection is crucial. Most of the patients do survive the treatment especially if they have been diagnosed during the early stages of the lymphoma.

Some of the more common symptoms of lymphomas include painless swelling in the lymph nodes of the neck, underarm, or groin. People with lymphomas also might experience fever, tiredness, weight loss, itchiness, red patches on the skin, nausea, vomiting and sometimes abdominal pain.

Those with low-grade lymphomas will encounter a very slow growth of the cancer cells and will experience very few of the symptoms. The problem with low-grade lymphomas is that even though they respond well to chemotherapy, they oftentimes return and is considered incurable unlike high-grade lymphomas. With the latter, treatment involves chemotherapy, with or without radiation therapy.

Admittedly, the information above is not all that you need to know about lymphoma. There are more facts that you need to find out for yourself especially if you have been diagnosed with having lymphoma.


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